A Week In Anchorage, AK, On A $38,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: an insurance agent working in financial services who makes $38,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on 5-Hour Energy.
Occupation: Insurance Agent
Industry: Financial Services
Age: 20
Location: Anchorage, AK
Salary: $38,000
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,800
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $875
Student Loans: $200
Other Loans: $300
Spotify: $12
Gym: $25
Yoga: $99
Car Insurance: $176
Phone/Wi-Fi: $0 (My dad pays for my phone bill, and I don't have Wi-Fi or cable in my apartment.)
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Day One

8 a.m. — I have to rush to work this morning! I have a bad habit of hitting my snooze too often, which means I didn't have any spare time to fix a cup of coffee. I visit a local coffee stop and order a Red Bull with raspberry flavoring and a 5-Hour Energy mix to add into it. I sip my raspberry-flavored heart-attack drink during my drive to the office. My head is aching, so I take some ibuprofen and mentally prepare myself for the day. $8
12 p.m. — It's my lunch break, and I'm starving. I brought a salad with miso dressing. I use my lunch break to drive over to a friend's apartment and hang out while I eat my lunch. I prefer to eat lunch with company.
5 p.m. — I call around to get quotes on my car insurance before I make my monthly payment, because I still feel like I'm paying too much for my lackluster coverage. I work in insurance, so I know the importance of having good coverages, but it's going to be expensive for me until I turn 25, so I keep my benefits to a minimum. No other company can beat my rate. I can't get insurance through the company I work for due to my age, but I don't want any of my associates to know how young I am. I tell them it's because I'm on a “restricted income.”
7 p.m. — I live alone, so I don't often cook for myself. I snack on some chips and salsa while I get my bath ready. My tub is huge and has jets! I get relaxed with bath bombs and scroll through my social media before washing up and going to bed.
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Daily Total: $8

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wake up late again, despite falling asleep at 9:30. I never feel well-rested. I rush to the gas station that's closest to my office and pick up a Bang energy drink — the zero-calorie, 350 mg caffeinated drink. I go with the cotton-candy-flavored can, and I also buy a small bag of Annie's cheddar snacks. I get to the office right on time for our morning meetings! $5
12 p.m. — I'm feeling empty — it's been too long without a proper meal. I drive to my friend's apartment again and fix up a bowl of instant cranberry oatmeal and then snack on my cheddar crisps. My hour break goes by too fast — back to work. I have to make my monthly sales quota! Being an insurance salesperson is so easy; everyone needs insurance. BUT selling insurance that is more expensive than most companies' and selling intangible value? That's what is so hard. I could easily work for another company and make twice the amount of sales I'm producing, but I choose to stay with my agency because I think it's the best quality insurance. I do wish I was making more money than I currently am, though.
6 p.m. — I had a long, long day, so I stop by the mall on my way home. I buy a new pair of Toms, some socks, makeup, and dinner to bring home. I get sesame chicken and fried rice from the food court, but by the time I get home I'm super exhausted. I fall asleep before I can even take a bite. Oops! $80
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Daily Total: $85

Day Three

8 a.m. — I wake up early enough to fix myself my own cup of coffee and make it to work. I don't eat breakfast, as you probably have noticed by now. I'll be spending the rest of the morning at my desk doing my sales thing.
1 p.m. — Salad lunch! I love love love vegetables. I add in nuts this time to switch things up. I also take my lunch break time to stop by the gas station to fill my tank up. $31
7 p.m. — After work I drive to pick my younger sister up. We Google Chinese food in our area, and only two spots are open. We stop by one of the places that has a bar and walk straight back out of there because it's full of drunk people and also smells bad. We get back in the car for a long drive to the other side of town to the other place that's open. I'm glad we made the trek. The food is AMAZING, and the server is also amazing. I pay for her dinner because she's 18 and doesn't work ($33 and I tip our server $10). $42
Daily Total: $73

Day Four

8 a.m. — My mornings are almost always the same. As long as I get my caffeine intake satisfied, I'm on a roll. I work 40 hours a week, so my social life is not thriving. I get onto my Snapchat and reply back to messages from last night. There's a handful of men who message me on the daily about taking me out on dates or hooking up. I don't have any interest in dating at the moment, so I don't reply back to most of the messages. It's funny how now that I pay my own bills and spoil myself, I've noticed that most men don't have much to offer. I'm the only unmarried single representative at my work, and I'm also the youngest! I'm not too worried about being in any relationships. I'm just trying to get my college degree and “secure my bag” — that's millennial talk for "I'm just trying to make as much money as possible."
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3 p.m. — I skip out on lunch today because I have an appointment with a prospective client. I help this elderly couple switch their insurance over to my company's plan. My favorite part of my job is meeting and helping elderly couples. This particular couple still flirts around with each other, even after 30 years of marriage. I make a huge closing sale and then snack on some cookies and a candy bar and get back to work.
7 p.m. — I stop by McDonald's on my way home to pick up some plain cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets, which remind me of how much I've been slacking! It's been a while since I've gone to the gym or taken a yoga or cycling class. How do people have the time to work 9-5, study, go to the gym, and still have a social life? Beats me. I go home and watch Netflix movies before I shower and fall asleep. $15
Daily Total: $15

Day Five

8 a.m. — Another Red Bull/5-Hour Energy heart-attack drink to start my day! I have a headache, and I'm hoping this caffeine makes it go away. $8
12 p.m. — I get a vanilla latte today for my lunch. I'm exhausted, and I have no appetite from this headache! $6
6 p.m. — It's Friday night, which means movie time! I'm excited because I'm taking my youngest sister out for the night. I swing by and pick her up and then head to the theater. I didn't realize how much the total cost of all of our snacks was going to be. I don't remember how much the movie tickets cost (we bought them a week ago), but the total of how much I spent on concessions shocked me. I pay for the date because she's my baby sister and I don't expect my family to pay for anything or owe me back. I bring her home and then head back to my place and get straight to bed. $60
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Daily Total: $74

Day Six

11 a.m. — I get a Red Bull soda again, but this time without the 5-Hour Energy. I'm planning to knock out some errands today. My fridge is empty, so I need groceries, and I need to visit my bank to get a cashier's check for next month's rent payment! $7
3 p.m. — I get the check for my rent from my bank and then head to the grocery store. I end up spending quite a bit on groceries, but it's enough to stock my fridge for a while. I head home for a nap. I love Saturdays. $69
10 p.m. — There is not an awful lot of things to do in this town, so some friends and I kill time by driving around. We stop at a gas station to get snacks and drinks for the ride. We end the night at a friend's apartment, playing beer pong and watching movies. $50
Daily Total: $126

Day Seven

12 p.m. — I ended up spending the night at my friend's house, whoops. I get up and drive one of my friends home and then stop at McDonald's to get a breakfast sandwich, hash browns, juice, and a smoothie. I then head home to take a bath and spend the day relaxing. $12
3 p.m. — It's truly a lazy Sunday. I spend basically the whole day snacking on chips and salsa and watching Riverdale on Netflix. I'm not mad! I fall asleep around 9.
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Daily Total: $12
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